It was a long Sunday afternoon on October 21st as Dallas fans once again were forced to sit through another game where the offense failed to consistently do much of anything. While the defense was spectacular as they had been all year, the offense managed 7 points in the first 50 minutes of play. The Cowboys eventually lost the game 20-17 to the arch rival Redskins and gave Washington a 2 game advantage at the time in the NFC East. An opportunity was squandered at the time to take over first place in the division.
But maybe that was the best thing that ever happened to the Dallas Cowboys.
The next day Jerry Jones finally pulled the trigger and made the move to go get Amari Cooper from a rebuilding Oakland team who is looking for picks more than players.
The price of a 1st round pick was high, and it may have seemed like Jones overpaid for a WR who had a disappointing 3rd year in the league after 2 Pro Bowls. But as Jones has said before, he has “overpaid for my big successes every time.” It’s still early, but his investment has paid off so far and changed the course of this football team.
Cooper has 349 yards and 3 TD’s in 4 games for the Dallas Cowboys. His style of play is perfect for this Dallas offense. Cooper can play on the outside and the slot, he’s a terrific route runner which is why he creates tons of seperation, he makes contested catches, and has a ton of speed evidenced by the 4.42 40 ran at the combine.
Dak Prescott at this point in his career had to have a #1 receiver like Amari Cooper. Dak isn’t there yet as a passer to be able to make his receivers better, throw them open, or consistently fit the football in through tight windows. He had to have a guy like Cooper who consistently wins 1 on 1 and makes plays after the catch. Cooper has stated that he likes the way Prescott throws it because “it’s an easy ball to catch.” The early rapport is so encouraging, especially when considering the lack of wavelength between Dez Bryant and Dak throughout their time together.
The running game has benefitted as well. Ezekiel Elliott was averaging 78 yards rushing in the first 8 games. In the last 4, he’s averaging 114 yards rushing. In total the offense has gone from averaging 20 without Cooper to almost 27 points with Cooper. Dallas is obviously 3-1 with Amari and has won 3 straight. This is a team that had not won consecutive games all year before this streak.
Now Dallas is in perfect position in the NFC East. A Thanksgiving win over the Redskins, highlighted by Amari Cooper’s 180 yards and 2 TD’s, has propelled the Cowboys into a share of 1st place in the NFC East at 6-5. It’s not a foregone conclusion by any means, but it’s clear that Amari Cooper has Dallas as the favorites in the NFC East.